Information on Cancer
Cancer also called: Carcinoma, Malignancy, Neoplasms, Tumor
Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells grow even when you don't need them, and old cells don't die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren't cancer while malignant ones are. Cells from malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues. They can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis. Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Most treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Some may involve hormone therapy, biologic therapy, or stem cell transplantation.
Benign Tumors also called: Benign cancer, Benign neoplasms, Noncancerous tumors
Tumors are abnormal growths in your body. They are made up of extra cells. Normally, cells grow and divide to form new cells as your body needs them. When cells grow old, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when your body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should. When these extra cells form a mass, it is called a tumor.
Tumors can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren't cancer. Malignant ones are. Benign tumors grow only in one place. They cannot spread or invade other parts of your body. Even so, they can be dangerous if they press on vital organs, such as your brain.
Treatment often involves surgery. Benign tumors usually don't grow back.
Radiation Therapy also called: Brachytherapy, Radiotherapy
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment. It uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and stop them from spreading. About half of all cancer patients receive it. The radiation may be external, from special machines, or internal, from radioactive substances that a doctor places inside your body. The type of radiation therapy you receive depends on many factors, including
- The type of cancer
- The size of the cancer
- The cancer's location in the body
- How close the cancer is to normal tissues that are sensitive to radiation
- How far into the body the radiation needs to travel
- Your general health and medical history
- Whether you will have other types of cancer treatment
- Other factors, such as your age and other medical conditions
Radiation therapy can damage normal cells as well as cancer cells. Treatment must be carefully planned to minimize side effects. Common side effects include skin changes and fatigue. Other side effects depend on the part of your body being treated.
Sometimes radiation is used with other treatments, like surgery or chemotherapy.
Normally, your cells grow and die in a controlled way. Cancer cells keep forming without control. Chemotherapy is drug therapy that can kill these cells or stop them from multiplying. However, it can also harm healthy cells, which causes side effects.
During chemotherapy you may have no side effects or just a few. The kinds of side effects you have depend on the type and dose of chemotherapy you get. Side effects vary, but common ones are nausea, vomiting, tiredness, pain and hair loss. Healthy cells usually recover after chemotherapy, so most side effects gradually go away.
Your course of therapy will depend on the cancer type, the chemotherapy drugs used, the treatment goal and how your body responds. You may get treatment every day, every week or every month. You may have breaks between treatments so that your body has a chance to build new healthy cells. You might take the drugs by mouth, in a shot or intravenously.